Dips and spreads

Ghee

ghee

Ghee is a type of clarified butter used in Indian cooking. Making ghee from butter involves removing the milk solids that contain casein, leaving only the casein-free butterfat behind. In addition, ghee (like butter) contains very little lactose, so it is generally tolerated even by people who are lactose-intolerant. Ghee is permitted on both the GAPS and GFCF diet.

Ghee is great for frying as it has a higher smoke point than butter. I particularly like using ghee for cooking eggs, and I also like having ghee to hand to grease my cake tins as I don’t cook with butter. In a covered container, it keeps for months in the refrigerator.

Ghee

at least 250g unsalted, organic butter, more if you like

Preheat your oven to 120°C/250°F/gas mark 1/2.

Put the butter into a saucepan or oven dish with high sides. It should fit fairly snugly.

Bake in the oven until the butter has fully melted. The melted butter will split into 3 parts: a milky, nearly solid layer at the bottom; a golden liquid layer in the middle; and a shallow layer of white foam on the top.  Remove carefully from the oven when the foamy top layer has started to brown, after about 45 minutes.

Using a spoon or spatula, carefully skim off the foamy top layer and discard.

Prepare a clean receptacle for the ghee such as a glass jar with a lid. Place a colander over the jar and line with muslin. Pour the golden middle layer through the lined colander into the jar, being careful to leave all of the milky bottom layer in the pan.

Discard the bottom layer of milk solids (do not pour down the sink unless you would like a visit from your plumber!).

Allow the ghee to cool, then refrigerate. It will keep for up to six months in the refrigerator.

Snacks

Kale Chips

kale

Happy new year! Here’s wishing each and every one of you a wonderful 2014 filled with good health and delicious food.

It’s been a year now since I started the blog section of my website. Thanks so much to all of you who have supported me and cheered me on. My most popular post of the year was Slow-Roasted Duck Legs, with 261 hits! I have big plans to continue posting recipes and fact sheets this year. In particular I will be adding more GAPS-friendly recipes, as GAPS has been increasingly significant in my clinical practice.

Kale chips might be a little bit 2013 by now, but they are still easy and delicious. So if you have never made them, I urge you to have a go. I used curly purple kale, but any variety works for this recipe.

Kale chips (adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe)

1/2 of a head of kale (about 6 large leaves)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Serves four as a snack

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Wash the kale leaves and dry in a salad spinner. Tear the leaves into large bite-sized pieces, taking care to discard the tough central stem. Toss with the olive oil in a bowl, then arrange the kale on a baking tray in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy. Remove from the oven and put the kale on some kitchen paper to blot excess oil. Sprinkle very generously with sea salt, and serve as a snack.

 
Meat and poultry

Slow-roasted duck legs

duck legs

I enjoy making – and eating – a proper French confit de canard. Maybe I’ll even blog about it someday. These slow-roasted duck legs are a sort of faux version. They are lighter than the real thing, but still very rich and satisfying. They are less time-consuming to prepare, though still not exactly fast food. I often make them in winter as a mid-week treat for my family, but I also served some last week on a lovely spring evening with just a fresh green salad on the side.

Whatever you do, make sure to save the vast quantities of rendered fat you will drain off during the cooking. You can use the rendered fat for all kinds of roasting and frying. My favorite use is for roasting chicken – simply rub a tablespoon or two of rendered duck fat all over the bird, sprinkle with sea salt, and be prepared for an amazingly moist roast chicken with fantastically crispy skin.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First try these lovely slow-roasted duck legs.

Slow-roasted duck legs (adapted from Simply Recipes)

1 duck leg per person

sea salt

Take the duck legs out of the refrigerator and arrange in a single layer in a roasting tin. Using a sharp knife, skewer or scissors, pierce the skin of each leg all over, in at least 10-12 places. (This will help the fat to render and will make the skin crispy.) Sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Leave the legs to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Without preheating the oven, put the roasting tin in the oven. Put the heat on to 150C°/300°F/gas mark 2 and cook for 2 and 1/2 hours. Drain the rendered fat into a bowl every 30 minutes or so.

Then increase the heat to 190C°/375°F/gas mark 5 and cook for another 20 minutes or until the skin is fully crispy.

Serve immediately. Any leftovers are nice shredded and added to a salad. Refrigerate the rendered fat and use within a week to cook vegetables or roast chicken.